Bags or Zakka Sewing Patterns Book Reviews Japanese Sewing Books

Book Review – Natural Cute Bags and Pouches

August 7, 2015

Did you participate in the Poll for the type of Japanese Sewing Books would you like to see translated into English? I hope you did! The poll is closed now and leading the pack is sewing for Ladies, followed by kids and bags sewing tied at #2.

I can think of quite a few girls sewing books, but only 1 kids book – Sew Chic Kids (for both girls and boys). But hardly any bag making books, it’s strange since there are so so so many gorgeous bag making books in Japanese. I must have at least 10 bag/purse/pouch sewing books in my collection, that number does not include periodicals like Cotton Time, Cotton Friend, Sewing & Crochet, where there are even more bag sewing patterns. I love Japanese bag sewing books because of the clear, precise instructions provided, either in diagrams or photographs. I also love the amazing photography and choice of fabrics.  It always makes me want to go fabric shopping.

So guess what, today’s book review is a bag making book! One that I bought without browsing simply because of the cover. 😛

Oh, and I was talking about fabric shopping! This bag sewing book is produced by Kamakura Swany. A fabric shop in Kanagawa. If you have not heard of this place, just check out their very beautiful website.  They also have an online shop which is in Japanese. Some of you may find many of their fabrics familiar. That is because they sell lots of imported fabrics, like Clarke and Clarke, Cabbages and Roses, Tilda, Lotta Jansdotter to name a few. There are also Japanese fabrics of course, as well as their own Swany line of fabrics. The 15 projects in this particular book are all made using fabrics from Clarke & Clarke, and feature patterns for bags that you can use on a daily basis.

The very clever thing about this book is that you can go to their online store, not only to buy the fabric, but to purchase the kits for making each project in the book. You can also browse the full range of projects and additional pictures through the links on each kit.


This bag a medium size bag with pockets in the front and back as well as an internal metal frame at the bag opening for a nice structured look.


This bag is called an Outing bag, with contrast fabric details for the handles, closing strap and…check out the little upturn corners on the base of the bag, and the big red button accents. How cute!


This bag is called a Cube bag. You can’t really tell from this picture, but imagine the pink side fabrics being pulled upright, you will see that the bag is actually made up of a boxy shape. There is a detailed sewing lesson with step by step photographs for this bag.


The next bag is a simple tote with leather straps. I love the fabric on this one and the leather straps go perfectly with the color scheme.


This round little bag is aptly named the Circle bag. There is a zip enclosure on the top of the bag. This fabric combination is too sweet!


The direct translation for this bag is the Body Bag, but no it’s not THAT kind of body bag, but a bag meant for carrying cross body. The strap is detachable at the bottom end so that you can switch sides depending on which shoulder you are more comfortable with. There is piping sewn along the edges of the front and back pieces of the bag, which help to give it a nice structured look. A full sewing lesson with step by step pictures is included with this pattern. More pictures of the bag here.


This bag is a backpack but with an open top (with a magnetic button) and shorter handles so that you can carry it like a tote as well.


I love this cute little bag with the irregular straps. This bag is simply called the Round bag. There is a zip running across the top of it.


This next bag is a flattish bag, but with a little depth for carrying stuff. I can’t figure out what the actual translation for this bag is but you can see from the pictures here that it is kind of a pear shape. There is a zipper running across the top of the bag.


There are also a few small projects like these hidden frame purses as well as some kiss-lock coin purses.

As mentioned earlier, there are two detailed sewing lessons (for the cube bag and the cross body bag), as well as some bag making techniques. Installing the magnetic buttons, sewing on leather handles, adding a bag base etc.

For the rest of the patterns, some include color diagrams like the ones below, and some of the patterns are in grayscale diagrams. Even the grayscale diagrams are clear and easily understandable as they use fabric pattern and shades to denote the different orientations of the fabric (right sides/wrong sides).


The diagrams are large and clearly labelled, so I don’t think there should be any problems following them.



One large double-sided pattern sheet included.


Title : Kamakura Swany’s Natural Cute Bags and Pouches
ISBN : 978-4-528-01145-8

There are other books published by Swany, including one that was just released a few weeks ago. Check them out here.

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  • Reply Jen August 7, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    Nice book – thank you for the review! By the way, the name of the pear shaped bag translates to Frog’s Mouth.

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books August 13, 2015 at 10:00 pm

      Thanks Jen! Nice to learn something new! 🙂 That’s an interesting way of describing the bag too!

  • Reply Rin August 12, 2015 at 1:17 am

    You always find the cutest Japanese sewing books! I wonder if the cube bag is supposed to hold that cake box? I really like its unique shape.

  • Reply New Releases – August 2015 | Japanese Sewing, Pattern, Craft Books and Fabrics August 17, 2015 at 11:45 am

    […] been barely half a year since the last book (that I just reviewed!) and here we have another from Kamakura Swany. Click on the image to see more details from their […]

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